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Democracy Now with Amy Goodman

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Us 18, Shane 14, Joshua 12, U.s. 10, Sarah Shourd 9, Israel 9, Joshua Fattal 8, Shane Bauer 7, Damascus 6, Afghanistan 4, Amy Goodman 4, Syria 4, Berkeley 4, Chicago 4, Pakistan 4, Jeremy Morlock 3, New York 3, John Mccain 3, San Francisco 3, Navy 3,
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  PBS    Democracy Now with Amy Goodman  

    September 29, 2010
    12:00 - 1:00am PDT  

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09/28/10 09/28/10 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] >> from pacifica, this is "democracy now!" >> my disappointment and not shing thisith ame and joshua is crushing and i stand before you today only one-third free, that was the last thing josh to me before i watched -- walked through toorsoo >> the freed american hiker sarah shourd speaking out over a year in iranian prison. she will join us to discuss her
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ordeal and her campaign to free the other hikers, her fiancé shane bauer and joshua fattal remain in jail and iran. appalachia rising. over 100 arrested outside the white house protesting mountaintop removal. the israeli navy detained a boat carrying nine jewish activists attempting to break the gaza blockade. israel has resumed some of building in the west bank. all of that and more coming up. this is "democracy now!," democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. the c.i.a. has drastically increased bombing campaign in the mountains of pakistan in recent weeks. according to the new york times" the cia has launched at let 20 attacks with armed drone aircraft so far in september, the most ever during a single month. according to one pakistani intelligence official, the recent drone attacks of not killed any senior taliban or al qaeda leaders. many senior operatives have already fled the region to
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escape the c.i.a. drone campaign. mean what come u.s. apache attack helicopters have carried out at least three airstrikes inside pakistan in recent days, killing more than 70 alleged militants. pakistan criticized the nato operation saying the attack hecopts illegally entered pakistani airspace, but pentagon official said the strikes were done in self-defense. while the u.s. regularly uses pilotless drone aircraft for missile strikes in pakistan, manned military flights across the border have been rare up until now. a u.s. soldier charged with murdering civilians and other crimes in afghanistan made his first court appearance on monday. army specialist jeremy morlock is the first of 12 u.s. soldiers accused of forming a secret kill team in afghanistan that allegedly blew up andhot afghan silly and that random and collected their fingers as trophies. -- afghan civilians and collected their fingers as
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trophies. video of part of morlock's confession to army investigators has been the to the media. in the video, morlock admits staff sergeant calvin gibbs ordered him to kill an innocent unarmed afghan civilian. >> on monday, army specialist jeremy morlock's attorney defended his client. >> first of all, he did not cause the death of any of those individuals. he was present, as was everyone else inhe platoon, at the time of the shootings, but many of
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the individuals went along for the ride and did not really have a choice. if your sources us to go and designated someone and threatens to -- if your sergeant says to go and he throws a grenade at someone and threatens you will be beaten or killed by him, the annual role play along with it. >> the army is intended to prevent the release of dozens of photographs that reportedly showed jeremy morlock and other soldiers posing with the murdered afghan civilians. a toprmy official recently ordered any images of dead or wounded afghans cannot be made public during his hearing. israeli commandos have boarded and seized a a gaza bound aid ship carrying nine jewish activists. the ship was apprehended by the israeli navy just miles off the coast of gaza. navy commandos boarded the vessel and then let the passengers off the boat. the activists said there were to to take a symbolic load of medicine, water purifying kit and other humanitarian aid to
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gaza. meanwhile, the un human rights council was told on monday that israeli troops broke international law by storming a turkish aid flotilla bound for gaza in may. karl hudson phillips is the chair of international independent fact-finding mission. >> commission considers the kind of for the flotilla public jurors was disproportionate and excessive-passengers was disproportionate and excessive. this resulted in the deaths of nine passengers and interest to many. the mission finds a serious violations. >> new released census data shows the income gap between the richest and poorest americans grew last year to its widest amount on record. the top earning 20% of americans received more than 49% of all income generated in the country in 2009. the income gap has nearly doubled since 1968. the u.s. has the greatest income
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disparity among western industrialized nations. despite the growing income gap, senate democrats last week put off a vote on whether to repeal president bush's tax cuts for the wealthy until after the midterm election. in recent ap poll found 54% of americans support raising taxes on the highest u.s. earners. in technology news, the obama administration is pushing congress to make it easier for federal authorities to wiretap the internet including encrypted emails, facebook postings and internet phone calls. the the new york times reports officials want congress to require all services that enable online communications to be technically capable of complying served with airetap order in order to give the federal government the ability to intercept and unscramble any encrypted message sent over the internet. hundreds of protesters gathered in minneapolis, chicago and other cities monday to condemn the fbi for raiding eight homes and offices of antiwar activists last week.
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outside the fbi office in chicago, protesters held signs reading "freedom to dissent" and "one nation under surveillance." targets of friday's raids include executive director of the arab american action network in chicago. visits democracynow.org for more on the fbi raids. in other fbi news come the justice department inspector general glenn fine has revealed that a significant numbeof fbi agents cheated or acted improperly when taking an exam in 2008 about domestic investigations. the justice department has already identified 22 agents who cheated on the exam, but the total number is believed to be much higher. the white house will spill commission heard testimony monday about the bp deepwater horizon disaster in the gulf of mexico. commissions expssed skepticism that the response to the spill was not impacted by bp and the federal government's initial underestimation of the size of the spill.
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retired coast guard admiral thad allen said the government needs to clarify the roles of federal and local governments and companies play in response to future oil spills. >> because of the uniqueness of chemical and oil spills, there's a presumption in the oil pollution act in 1990 that the federal government will coordinate this. that is not whathe cits and counties and locales in the gulf had been used to for a large spill with the resources are provided to them and execute them. there was a reconciliation that had to be carried out between the assumption of the role of the state and local governments as far as executing spill response and responsibilities we have under the law to implement the constant -- the plan. >> an is from latin america, president hugo chávez's socialist party has cstraed -- retain control of the venezuelan parliament after elections on sunday.
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his party won 98 of the one under 65 seats in the national assembly. opposition parties won 65 seats. a prominent opposition lawmaker in colombia has been kicked out of the senate and barred from public service for 18 years despite never being charged with a crime. inspector general ousted senator cordoba from office for allegedly aiding members of the farc, the revolutionary armed forces of colombia. you can go to democracynow.org to see our interview with her. nine retired u.s. attorney officers have written a letter to lawmakers calling for the u.s. travel ban to cuba to be lifted. the officers include lawrence wilkerson, former chief of staff to secretary of state colin powell. a federal judge has declared a mistral in the case of two former blackwater contractors accused of murdering two unarmed
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afghan civilians and wounding a third man in kabul last year. ifoncted justin cannon and christopher drotleff face life in prison for the shootings. wired.com is reporting at least half a dozen staffers at the whistleblowing website wikileaks have recently resigned in a dispute with the organization's founder julian assange. the website international headlines in july when it released a huge trove of secret u.s. military documents about the war in afghanistan. wikileaks has reportedly plan to release its next batch of secret documents on october 18, this time the documents will focus on the iraq war. over 100 people were arrested outside the white house monday in a protest calling for the abolition of mountaintop removal coal mining. more later in the broadcast. in arizona, a protester was tackled by a member of senator john mccain's security team after she attempted to approached the senator following a debate on sunday night. the woman was wearing a t-shirt that read "do i look
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undocumented." >> john mccain, this is how the activists get treated. the warmonger john mccain gets to walk out. >> this is "democracy now!," democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. we begin today with the american hiker sarah shourd who was recently freed from iranian prison after more than a year's imprisonment. in july of 2009, sarah shourd and her now fncé sne bauer and their friend joshua fattal were arrested in the iran-iraq border while on a hiking trip. iran accuses them of espionage, but earlier this month sarah shourd was released on humanitarian grounds on half a million dollars bail. with shane bauer and joshua
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fattal still behind bars, sarah shourd has repeatedly said she is only one-third free. an iranian newspaper reported sunday that in albania delegation arrived in iran to help secure the release of shane bauer and joshua fattal. with larry king, the iranian president ahmadinejad said there was a sl chance the they be released but added he had no sway over the matter. >> as far as the others, there is a chance, but the judge has to take care of the case. i have no influence over its. , but i have suggested for the navy -- i have no influence over it, but i have suggested it be regarded with clemency, mercy and more kindness and compassion. to allow her to return to her family. >> the freed american hiker sarah shourd met with iranian president friday, urging him to release her friends in prison. the president told the
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associated press he hoped they would be able to provide evidence that "they had no intention in crossing the border" so that they could be released. sarah shourd was released september 14 after 410 days of imprisonment, most of which -- most of which she spent in a 10 foot by 5 foot cell in solitary confinement in tehran's petraeus evin prison. -- notious evin prison. >> it is good to be here. >> it is good to see you free. we have talked about your case with your mother for over a year. how does it feel to be free? >> it is a great improvement, but it does not fill over because it is not over. it is not the way i dreamed of getting free. it is not the way shame and joshua and i wanted it to happen, but it is a step in the right direction. >> what u want to happen now?
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>> an when everyone around the world that has been advocating for us and believes in our freedom to redouble their efforts. i want a huge push so we can finish this and shane bauer and joshua fattal can join us. >> tell us how you're free, what happened. >> the judge said i was freed on humanitarian grounds because i was in solitary confinement, which is the harshest sentence. >> tell us how the whole thing went down about the on the delegation, just how the ball rolling. >> well, a lot of that i was not privy to. i was sitting in my cell and were very few inclinations that anything was happening until the lastay of ramadan. that is when i met with people from the judiciary alone and as soon as i left my cell, i knew something was going on. they said you may be freed on bail, we hope, and then as the
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the next two days sitting in my cell not knowing what was happenin. i had very little information on the news that i thought about our case. and did not see shane and joshua for thosys ays i knew there was something weird going on. the third day they took me back to the judge and my lawyer was there, the first time in 14 months that i actually was allowed to see my lawyer. >> an iranian lawyer? >> yes, a wonderful man. he has helped us a great deal and coinues to tirelesy advocate for shane and joshua. >> what did oman have to do with this? >> they brought me back. i went to muscat. i do not know exactly what they had to do with it, but i know they have been helpful and continue to try to free shane and joshua. >> who put up the bill?
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>> i don't know and i probably never will know. there was a really amazing story about an iranian official who in the last ments when they were not sure who was going to put up the bill, if there would be bail, and there's a lot of scrambling and confusion about how to get it in a timely fashion, there was an iranian official who offered to mortgage his house because he believed so strongly i should be freed and was concerned about my well- being. i do not even know who this individual is, but i think it is a phenomenal example of people on both sides that want to get past these political disputes and do not believe in human beings being used in these kinds of political battles. >> they say they want eight iranians freed from u.s. prisons, so sometimes they say your spies and other times they
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say this is a fair trade. who are they? >> i don't know much about them. obviously, i do not have any power over these decisions and the to our families. we really want to continue to push our case andak sure everyone sees our case as a humanitarian issue. we are not spies. we committed no crime. the border was unmarked and distinguishable. we were hiding behind a tourist site. i think now that many of these questions about who we are are being answered, people will really support and see this as a humanitarian issue. >> with the president ahmadinejad say to you and what did you say to him in a meeting last week? >> i gave him the evidence he requested about shane and joshua and i about some of what we were doing before our arrest, about why we were living in damascus, syria for over a year.
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i was teaching english to iraqi and palestinian refugees as well as syria nationals in part of a program to help iraqi refugees apply to college in the united states. shane was doing a little journalism. he has long been a courageous international journalist, focusing on the middle east. >> we have broadcast his report from iraq. >> i talked a lot about our politics, who we are. he was very friendly, especially gracious to my mother, concerned about her health and her upcoming surgery. he made a lot of the same statements he has made publicly all along, that he will make a strong plea to judiciary to be lenient with us, with shane and joshua, and he is feeling hopeful. >> talked about what happened 14
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month -- talk about what happened for two months ago, talk about why you're on the border and what you're doing in northern iraq. >> in damascus, syria, and extremely beautiful place, but there are not many green mountains. a friend of mine and was also teaching the same program i was teaching at in damascus, a year ago for he to me about his hiking trip in northern iraq and kurdistan, a semi autonomous region established by the united states in 1991 as a no-fly zone. it is not a war zone. no americans have been hurt there for a long time or westerners. they traveled frequently. i had 10 days off work and decided to take my friend's advice and our friend joshua fattal had just come a week before to stay with us and did not know how long he would be staying. he had been traveling around the world to south africa and china as part of an international
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teaching program that he helped coordinate. he showed up and was very eager to take a trip with us. we had done a lot of hiking with him before an oregon where he lived and was also teaching at a non-profit group that raises consciousness about sustainable green technology. he is an informal list. he showed up and our friend shawmut kessel also showed up. we decided -- >> he was on our broadcast to plead the case for the three of you. >> so we have our friends to testimony in the recent -- research the area and felt it was safe. there are lot of tourist sites.
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we have long been carries about kurdish culture. we thought it would be exciting. -- we have long been excited about kurdish culture. we thought it would be exciting. many people om sthern iraq believe it is too dangerous to stay where they are will migrate to the north where there is much less conflict are really no conflict. -- are really no conflict, less violence. we arrived and went to, i believe it was the capital. in the hotel, there were pictures of tourists, western tourists by waterfall. we asked about the waterfall. theyaid it was wonderfulor hiking in the most beautiful place around here. we got the same recommendation from a taxi driver and a restaurant owner. everyone said was a great place to go. we took a taxi there. we passed through a checkpoint and the was no problem, no
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warnings. we g there and there were literally hundreds of families there camped out by the waterfall and we stayed by the waterfall around where all of these families were overnight. e ne morning, we asked i seen the man on other interviews. he said we were going to iran and we did not say because we had no idea when or even near iran. i think a miscalculated how close i was. we did not have a good map and were going on what people said. we hiked for two-three hours and that is when we came upon some soldiers come out of e middle of nowhere, no sign of a border or no indication or fence or flag or building -- nothing. >> were you afraid in the
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beginning? did you feel alarmed? >> i felt alarmed, but not greatly. shane and i had traveled in the middle east greatly in the year before. everywhere we went, people were so kind and generous and nonjudgmental about us being americans. there were welcoming and curious once they found out mo about us. i had really one of the best years of my life and did not have any reason to be particularly alarmed. i felt safe when i was around people that are native to the area, that they knew the territory and if they were not alarmed, i did not need to become either. >> so then what happened? >> we assumed they were iraqi soldiers because we had no idea we wer iarn. we thought it would just ask some questions. they have guns, so we cannot just refuse them anwalk away. the gesture for us to come
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closer. we came closer and they told us that we -- they were iranian and forced us to get into a car with them. >> were you able to make a phone call? >> i did. we begged and pleaded and told them our friend was waiting for us, on the way to the waterfall. thank god that allowed us to make a phone call and we called sean and he had n left yet, so he alertedhe authorities in baghdad. >> where were you taken? >> the police station. for the next three days, they drove is around iran and we were traded off several times. it was not until the fourth day we arrived in tehran and were torn apart and thrown in separate prison cells. >> what about the investigation by the nation and the best to get a fine, the five-month investigation that located two
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witnesses to the arrest to claim the three of you we on iraqi rritory when you were arrested, not in iran as a ring and officials have asserted? >> i will probably never know exactly what happened. i read the nation article and it is certainly possible. i, myself, have no knowledge of where the border is and could not see the border -- >> there were no markings? >> no markings. we were on a truck behind the waterfall, a dirt trail. >> we have to take a break, but he will come back to this discussion. sarah shourd is free, well, partly free because her two american friends are still in the evin prison in iran. we will come back to hear about her life, their lives and their time in prison. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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>> this is "democracy now!," democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. our guest is sarah shourd, now
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free. she must find it unusual to be described as -- and will forever be known -- as the american hiker. how does that feel? >> it is accurate. i mean, we were hiking. the first time we found out about to a letter when we were in prison, we were pretty amazed. we were like, the hikers? well, that is true. >> she is one of three american hikers. she and shane bauer and joshua fattal were taken and imprisoned for the next 14 months. she has been freed, but they have not. so your take and ultimately to the evin prison. -- so you are taken to evin to prison. talk aut your time there. >> the first 2.5 months, we were -- we did not seek other at all, we were in complete solitary confinement.
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at the end of the second month, that is when my investigator told me the investigation was going to be put on hold. i asked why and he said, well, it has come from my boss and he said that our case have become political. i asked him what that meant and he said, well, it means something bigger than you. he may not -- it may not matter if you're innocent or not because this has become political. at that point, the never questioned us. >> your kept in a five-foot by 10 foot cell? >> yes. the first month we switch to a different area of evin, but both places i was in complete solitary confinement and so were shane and joshua and we only saw each other a few minutes after being and pleading and crying constantly.
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>> they were together? >> no, not the first two months. >> how did you keeyour sanity? >> my favorite quote about prison is prison is not hell that a lot of people imagine, fire and brimstone, but there is very little heaven there. i do not know what is worse, a place like hell for a place with no heaven. i think the constant struggle of staying sane in prison in called -- solitary confinement in keeping hope alive is justified enough have an inside yourself or in each other to get through the day. that is what we did for each other as much as possible. i never had to tap into my internal resources as much as i did there. >> did you have books? >> not in the beginning, but it increased toward the end. >> and you saw them and our a day in a courtyard? >> half an hour increase to an
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hour and a last month it was two hours. >> and you got engaged there to shane bauer? >> yes. >> how did it happen? >> it was a surprise. sometimes he would come to the outdoor area alone. i remember i was having a particularly bad day and he said, there is something i want to talk about. i said i hope it is good because i cannot handle much today. he said it is pretty good. he asked me to marry him. he had made engagement rings out of string. >> are you wearing it now? >> yes, and i will not take it off until shane is freed and we get of the ones to replace them. >> talk about how you came to be in syria and then taking the hike. where did you grow up? >> i was born in chicago and my
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mother and i moved to los angeles and after high school, i moved up to berkeley and later went to college and uc berkeley. >> and that is where you met shane? >> welcome he is a little younger than me. he went later. before we started dating even, we were both peace activists and we were organizing protests and different actions against the wars in afghanistan and iraq. >> where quaestor >> symphysis go, berkeley. -- >> where? >> 7 cisco, berkeley. he came back from standing in the middle east and we met again and started dating. all through our relationship he talked about the middle east and how amazing it was and how generous and kind and accepting people are.
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he persuaded me that it would be -- that i could not really understand the beauty and diversity of cultures in the middle east without immersing myself in it. i was willing to do so. >> what was shane steing? >> arabic so the to become a journalist. when he was 18, he was traveling europe and decided spontaneously to go to turkey and fell in love with the region. ever since, he has been going there. >> and so you decided to go? >> i got a job teaching english. i was an english teacher with immigrants in california before. i was able to get a job. we really had the experience of our lives. we were welcomed into a very diverse community in damascus of artists and intellectuals, people from all over the world and the middle east, palestinian refugees come iraqi refugees --
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it was just an incredible experience. and never really felt more say for welcome to my life than in damascus. sometimes i would be walking home at night and a man would follow me. if i yelled out, 20 people would come out of their houses to help me come even late-night, something that would not happen in my city. incredible generosity. >> did president ahmadinejad when you met him ask about your past? ask about your activism? >> yes, he did. it was part of the evidence i gave him that he promised to hand over to the judiciary and, of our innocence. yes, he already knew a bit about our past, our friendship with just an anderson, the young man that was shot by the israeli military while protesting. -- justi anderson, a young man that was shot by the israeli
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military while protesting. >> talk about him. your mother was on our show. we have done a number of programs on the california activist and interest in anderson, a photograph in one of the protests in the west bank and was shot by a tear gas canister. -- tristan anderson. you visited him in the hospital? >> yes, we were all in damascus. my mother had only arrived a few days before forer first trip to the middle east. when we heard about tristan, we knew we had to go. it is a difficult trip, but there was no hesitation. that was the first time i had ever been to israel-palestine. we are only there for four or five days and spent the whole time in the hospital with him. it was a very scary time and we were very grateful that he pulled through.
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in prison, it was one of the most difficult things for shane and i cannot know how tristan was doing. we were so grateful to see he was ok. >> is tristan able to speak? >> yes, but i have not been able to speak with him yet but i hope to soon. >> the president knew about this, the iranian president? >> yes. >> tell me about your friend. joshua and shane live together in oakland. when i first did dating shane, we went to the ngo joshua was teaching for. >> which is where? >> an organ. -- in oregon. joshua is a phenomenal person.
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i cared about him before, but we became best friends in prison. joshua helped me through prison in some anyways. is aeautiful person. >> how did to help each other? >> became up with a million ways to try to frighten our days and maximize -- became up with a maximizeways to try to mee our days. >> out in the outdoor space? >> i would be waiting for hours, pacing and desperately need of human contact. when i would come out and see them, i often just had tears streaming down my face or sometimes i would be really withdrawn and not very communicative. there were always able to get to talk about what was going on.
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i would be, i am having a bad day. everything is bad. they came up with some many ways like singing songs or holding hands and looking into each other's eyes. we constantly talk about our future and all the things we waed to do with our lives. i really have just never had such a close bond with two other human beings. with shane, he was already my closest friend and my partner, but not -- but now joshua is in the same position. >> how did you leave them? was it hard to make the decision to go, if in fact, you're making any decision? what did they say to you and what did you say to them? >> it was reallyifficult and disappointing because all of our fantasies about our liberation were together, holding hands, walking out with
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our heads held high. and now for me, just knowing that they are still there and they are paying a lot of ways- and their pain and a lot of ways is invisible. everyone sees been looking pretty good and to gather because i am 10,000 times better than i was when i was in prison. as soon as i walk through those doors, i felt better than i had since before this happened. there's this instantaneous rebirth that happens. but the same time, what is going on inside of me is extremely painful because just the way i felt my pain was so invisible, that no one ever sees what prisoners actually and/or -- there's never a camera or media inside the prison walls. i know only i can really see what they're going through. they are still in a cramped prison cell, no idea when they're getting out and very little sunlight or time or the leave the room.
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-- or time when they leave the room. >> was reaching out to try to get them released? -- what are you doing now to try to get them released? >> i'm doing everything i can to not allow them to separate us. all throughout prison, that was one of the most difficult things that we fought so hard to stay together. we eventually had more and more time together. to me, this is like the greatest separati. by freeing the first, of course i'm grateful, but at the same time it is very painful to be separated from them. the only reason that i can enjoy my freedom is that i know everything i'm doing can contribute to theirs. so i'm tirelessly advocating for them in the media. i write them every day. i can only hope they get my
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letters. i will never know until they get out if they get my letters. >> why were you held in solitary confinement? >> they said because there's no other prisoner that was right for me, a good fit. i never really got a good explanation. i think it was because i was american and they said there were no other americans. >> do you have any regrets? >> regrets. no, in prison, those kinds of emotions torture you if you do not let them go. i really had to find peace within myself that something bad happened to me, something unfortunate and it was not my fault. people get in car wrecks and they are the victims of the situation. i do not find productive to regret what i did because i really had no indication of what i was doing with in any way put me in danger.
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>> what do you think would most possibly secure their freedom? what makes a difference? >> everything that people have been doing has made a difference. every day i learn more about what has been going on and how many people around the world really support and believe in our freedom and our innocence. i heard about this homeless woman in san francisco who was doing vigils and had donated money because she saw some of the photojournalism and that shane in san francisco. people should really look at shane bauer's website and his photojournalism. >> and his website is? >> shanebauer.net. >> we will have that link on our web site. >> he did one on poverty in san
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francisco, a housing development. he was able to bring it from the margin to the center, stories that do not -- that people do not know about the need to know are about. from desmond tutu to my nephews who have made t-shirts and told everyone in their school to sign the petition -- i mean, it is just in this. all of those things contribute. there's an opportunity for the potential of improvement between u.s.-iranian relations. and do not think it has to be what it is. i think there's always a window of opportunity for change and improvement. >> when you come in here threats of war -- when you come here and hear threats of war? >> i can only pray that it will not happen. i really do not believe it has to happen in any way. i think would be a huge mistake.
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i have always been a peace activist and advocated against aggression or even sanctions against iran. >> is there anything else you would like to add? it is great to have you here, sarah shourd. >> well, i would really like to thank people and ask them to not slow dn, to put my freedom on pause and celebrate with me when shane and joshua are with us. >> thank you for being with us. we will have a link to your web site freethehikers.org. sarah shourd, the american hiker arrest was shane bauer and joshua fattal, who remain in the evin prison, she came out aft 14 months. this is "democracy now!"
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coming up, we will be talking about the cause some -- gaza flotilla, the activists who have been trying to break the siege. we will get the latest. ♪ [music break]
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>> this is "democracy now!," democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. over 100 people were arrested outside the white house on monday to protest calling for the abolition of mountaintop removal coal mining. the redlining -- the rally was part of the appalachia rising, and will today event organized by residents of the appalachian communities impacted by the mountaintop removal. the protesters were detained after refusing to leave the sidewalk outside the white house fence. the nasa climatologist james hansen was among those arrested. in another major action from a group calling itself the black cross alliance erected black crosses at coal mining sites in southern illinois. the group says the crosses symbolize the sacrificing of entire communities for the sake of mining coal. though -- the actions come as
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the animal protection agency is set to decide on whether to cancel a controversial mining project in west virginia. if approved, the spurs no. 1 mine would be one of the bgest strip mining projes in all of appalachian states, impacting acres of forests o and 7 miles of streams. well, jeff biggers is a journalist and cultural historian who has been extensively covered mining in the appalachian region but we only have about a no-minute to speak with you. -- we only have about a minute to speak with you. >> i think across the nation, the coal fields really are having a watershed event for the progressive community. appalaian rising made a very compelling point that mountaintop removal only provides a% of our national co- production, so they're really taking the struggle to washington and asking president obama to say if you cannot even stand up to big coal and follow
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your role of science, you know, the epa has told us that mountaintop removal create irreversible damage to our head water streams, and if he cannot stand up to bid: stop one of the most egregious human rights and environmental violations, how come we began to discuss a comprehensive energy and health care legislation? i think appalachian rising from alaska to alabama to southern illinois are really leading the way for the progress of community to really hold the obama administration accountable. >> white yesterday? -- why was it yesterday? >> it had been in the works for months. no i think something very important for appalachia, this was the anniversary of the march on kings mouain, which gs all the y back to e amican revolution when we were at the verge of losing american revolution and was the mountain people who once again were threatened with the destruction of the mountains by the british forces and they came down and
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turn the tide on the american revolution. it is people living on the front lines of the extraction industry come anywhere from natural gas drilling to the will drilling to the coal fields, who are saying, we have to move forward and really take his battle to washington to go forward. >> in 30 seconds, what is wrong with mountaintop removal? >> mountaintop removal not only is a health-care crisis, but it creates irreversible damage. it destroys our mountains. with destroyed 1.5 million acres of hardwood forest and the carbon zinc of america, critic amenities that are completely besieged. though it has led to the largest forced removal of you your r mpd radio and tv, for thousands of americs in the coal fields, they will be livingith
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dangers dust and toxic coal dust, water that has been contaminated. we have created these natural sacrifices that should no long exist in the obama america. >> jeff biggers, thank you for joining us bit of his book is called "reckoning at eagle creek: the secret legacy of coal in the heartland." we turn now to the latest in his role in the occupied territories, israeli commandos have boarded and seized a a gaza bound aid flotilla just miles off the coast. they were attempting to deliver a symbolic load of medicine, a water purifying kit and other humanitarian aid to the gaza strip. a jewish boat to gaza was the latest attempt to break the blockade since israel's deadly attack on an aid flotilla and maybe the the aid efforts for gaza come just days after high- level un probe recommended the prosecution of israeli officials for the may 31 attack on a flotilla. and also comes as it is a escalates in the occupied
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territories could sell those resumed building monday, one day after isrl refed t extend the partial freeze on settlement expansion. the u.s. had quietly lobbied for the extension and palestinians had threatened to walk away from peace talks if settlement buildings resumed. we're resumed -- if settlement building resumed. we're joined by two guests, fatima mohammadi, chicago-based attorney was aboard the mavi marmara when it was attacked by the israeli military and was detained and held in the israeli prison for two days. in new york we're joined by gideonevy, another is written about the life of the palestinian territories. this latest book is called "the punishment of gaza." i would first want to talk to fatima mohammadi. this report out of the human rights council, recommending prosecution of the military for what it did on the mavi marmara,
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your response? you were on board the ship. describe it. >> i was on board the mavi marmara, i was on deck for the majority of the attack until having to assist a cameraman who have been shot twice in the arm downstairs. the report did a very accurate job at discarding not only the injuries to the people on board as well as those who were eventually killed either on the ship or later died from their injuries, but also the political and humanitarian -- humanitarianthe roun situation but i thought the human-rights council report to the very big job, a special appointing at the various international laws that israel was in violation of in their attack as well as pointing out the larger scope of things, which is the illegality of the attacked. >> they still say the consider
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the turkish charity group which led the flotilla to the terraced into hamas. prior to that coitte worked for nearly a decade and 120 different decoster and nothing but commendable work across the board -- prior to that, they worked for nearly a decade and 120 different countries doing nothing but commendable work across the board. there the farthest from the terrorists. the central problem with the humanitarian aspect of the palestine situation, additionally, israel's insistence on believing only their side of the story and showing only video and footage from midway through the attack when all of us on board the
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ship, including the human rights report, which verified that all of the activists and the unitarians on board -- and humanitarian workers on board consistently said the attack started about 30 minutes before the soldiers even boarded the ship with gunfire from the zodiac, surrounded as from about 4:00 in the morning on. >> gideon levy, you are an israeli journalist and a briton a book called "the punishment of gaza." you have reported from gaza pitta the israeli government says there is no siege of gaza, so these jewish activists who have just been detained, attempting like fatima mohammadi did on the mavi marmara to break the siege, they say it is a misnomer. >> it is propaganda. bosra under siege, cause is still the biggest prison on earth. -- bosra under siege, because it
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is of the biggest prison on earth. was a siege before. it remains the biggest prison on earth. nobody can contradict it, even of the israeli propaganda. >> you are a jewish journalist. what is the response of the israeli-jewish community to your reporting, to how you are describing it? >> i am an alternative voice. i do not stand for the majority. the majority loves to hate me. it is not very pleasant to be living in israel today. but the same time, there is also quite the audience who sees eye to eye with me.
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i also get very warm reactions. but no doubt the other ones are the majority. >> fatima mohammadi, the u.s. slammed the un probe of the flotilla raid and said, we are concerned by the reports come unbalanced language from a town in conclusion -- of dallas language, tone and conclusion. >> it is difficult forny rert of thing to ge a comptely unbiased portrayal of what happened or what is happening inside of the area, especially given the fact these rallies will not to dissipate and refuse to participate in multiple requests for investigation. in fact, the panel of investigators sent from the un were refused entry into israel
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and refused the opportunity to speak with the soldiers and with those who were involved in the massacre on the flotilla. they were turned away. so the only invesgation the were able conduct after multiple requests that were denied by the israelis was by the jordanian and turkish officials as well as with ih representatives and the eye witnesses and the participants on the flotilla prado is to consistently denies participation in any sort of international or unbiased your own political investigation of its tactics and essentially i think that speaks very clearly to their guilt come essentially. because they will refuse to dissipate. the will of the participate in an investigation they themselves cannot and want to propagate to the rest of the world. >> gideon levy, teaching the israeli population or government will view the flotilla -- do you think these rally population our
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government will view the flotilla now that is with jewish activists and the turkish flotilla? >> unfortunately, no. the brainwash system works like this. anyone who wants to help gaza come to help the people in gaza come is immediately labeled as an testaments and -- anyone who wants to help gaza, help the people in gaza come is immediately labelled anti semitic. >> and the affects of this and what this will mean? >> this is the best way to judge the real intentions of israel, a benjamin netanyahu. on one hand, he talks about a tuesday solution and as we knew from the beginning, totally into because he inot ready for the most -- it is required to just
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are some talks, some kind of good will. even this is too much for israel. expectations in any case should be even more. >> suggesting one of the activists on board the ship of jewish activists is a former pilot an israel's airorcend has joined the ranks of hamas the official said the 82-year- old holocaust survivor on board is probably not learned anything from the terrible past perido. >> instead of asking ourselves with the what is wrong with what we're doing, we immediately planning anyone who dared to criticize or who dares to do anything on a humanitarian basis. shapiro is reaisraeli patriot come much more than all the right wings in is your.
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>> that is all the time we have now. fatima mohammadi, thank you for being with us come aboard the mavi marmara and chicago-based attorney and the latest book by gideon levy